The iPhone 15 series is set to launch in September 2023 and is one of the year’s most highly anticipated smartphone releases. As the launch date approaches, Apple fans in Pakistan are eager to learn more about the pricing details of these new devices, especially the non-PTA prices.
PTA stands for the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, which is the regulatory body that oversees the telecom industry in the country. All mobile phones imported into Pakistan must be registered with the PTA through a process known as PTA approval.
Why Non-PTA Phones Are Cheaper
As mentioned above, the key reason non-PTA phones have lower pricing is that they have not been registered with the PTA, so the importer or retailer has not paid the associated tax. For popular smartphone models like the upcoming iPhone 15 series, avoiding this PTA tax can translate to savings of tens of thousands of rupees for the end consumer.
In essence, while legally imported PTA-approved iPhone 15 devices will include this import tax cost in their retail pricing, grey market non-PTA variants will not have this extra cost component.
Cost of PTA and non-PTA phones
To understand the price difference, let’s take a look at a breakdown of the taxes that make up the retail price of legally imported PTA-approved phones in Pakistan:
- Customs duty: Around 11-14% of the total device cost
- Sales tax: 17% of cumulative device cost including customs duty
- PTA taxes: Rs. 1500 for feature phones, Rs. 9000 for smartphones
- Income tax: 5.5% withholding tax
- Distributor and retailer margins
By importing iPhone 15 devices through grey channels, non-PTA importers can bypass the fixed PTA approval tax, income tax, and even customs duty to some extent.
Risks of Using a Non-PTA Phone
While non-PTA iPhones carry significant upfront cost savings, they do come with some caveats and potential risks that buyers should be aware of:
Potential network limitations and block by PTA
One major risk with non-PTA phones is that they may not work reliably on local cellular networks in Pakistan. The PTA can potentially identify such devices on networks and block them from accessing mobile internet or even making calls/SMS. Non-PTA phones have IMEI numbers not registered locally, making them easy to identify and block.
Warranty eligibility for non-PTA phones
Additionally, grey market iPhone 15 handsets imported through unofficial channels often do not have proper warranty coverage from Apple or other sales channels.
With no warranty coverage, any hardware-related repairs can be very costly for non-PTA iPhone owners. And there is no guarantee components like the screen, camera, or battery will function reliably over time.
Estimated Non-PTA Prices of iPhone 15 Series in Pakistan 2024
Based on industry insights, current grey market pricing trends, and historical data from previous iPhone launches, the following are rough estimates for non-PTA prices of iPhone 15 series models expected to launch in September 2023:
Estimated non-PTA prices for different models and storage of the iPhone 15
- iPhone 15 128GB: PKR 165,000
- iPhone 15 256GB: PKR 185,000
- iPhone 15 512GB: PKR 220,000
- iPhone 15 Plus 128GB: PKR 195,000
- iPhone 15 Plus 256GB: PKR 215,000
- iPhone 15 Plus 512GB: PKR 250,000
- iPhone 15 Pro 128GB: PKR 215,000
- iPhone 15 Pro 256GB: PKR 235,000
- iPhone 15 Pro 512GB: PKR 270,000
- iPhone 15 Pro Max 128GB: PKR 230,000
- iPhone 15 Pro Max 256GB: PKR 250,000
- iPhone 15 Pro Max 512GB: PKR 285,000
These non-PTA iPhone 15 price estimates above can translate into savings of around Rs. 60,000 to Rs. 100,000 compared to officially approved and tax-paid iPhone 15 pricing in Pakistan.
Buy a Non-PTA iPhone 15
For prospective buyers willing to purchase a non-PTA iPhone 15 despite the risks, following some best practices can help minimize the chances of issues:
- Only buy from reputable sellers: Counterfeit or smuggled phones often get passed off as non-PTA iPhones.
- Confirm network compatibility: Check if the specific iPhone 15 model supports local 4G bands.
- Ask about return/exchange policy: Non-PTA stock is sold as-is but some sellers offer short exchange periods.
- Get written invoice: Get proper receipts to at least have some purchase documentation.
- Verify IMEI is not blocked: Ask the seller to check IMEI on the PTA website before paying.
- Consider extended grey market warranty: Some dealers offer this after-sales coverage for non-PTA phones.
Following these steps will help minimize the inherent risks of buying an iPhone 15 or any other smartphone from grey market channels in Pakistan. However, no amount of precautions can guarantee full peace of mind – something to always factor into the decision about whether going for an unofficial import route is worth the hassles.